ASHLEY ASKS…… Spencer Boyd
Last week, Spencer Boyd announced he will be running the full NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for SS Green Light Racing with sponsorship from Gunt Style.
The 22-year-old spoke about the opportunity recently with Popular Speed’s Ashley McCubbin.
POPULAR SPEED: What does it mean to you to get the opportunity?
SPENCER BOYD: Really excited to get to run full-time. It’s been a long time coming, so there’s a lot of excitement built up. For quite a few years, I’ve wanted to make it to NASCAR’s top three series, and make it to the XFINITY Series, and to finally do that last year and get my feet wet, and now have a full season….Really excited to get to race every week and be one of the guys they consider to be in the mix.
PS: You’ve put a lot of effort in behind the scenes to make this happen. Does it make it extra special?
SB: There’s so much to it. It’s a lot different than it was in the past. Now you definitely need to either have mom and dad pay for it, or find sponsors. I’ve been really fortunate to have a lot of partners throughout the years to race with in go-karts, all the way to late models, and run my first Camping World Truck Series race. My parents have helped me along the way, but it’s always taken sponsors to make things happen, and you’re always looking for that big sponsor. You appreciate all the ones that you can find, and then you try and find that big one that wants to build with you and create a brand. You hear about Jeff Gordon and Dupont being together a long time, or Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s. As a young guy, you’re always hopeful of finding that large co-operate sponsor that suits your image that you can represent well, and obviously just excited to partner as you are.
So meeting with Grunt Style a little over a year ago, I was like, “Wow, this is something that I can stand behind.” It’s a great brand. You talk about sponsors as being brands, and it’s pretty easy to talk about Grunt Style in being an apparel brand, and veteran owned. I was like, “Wow, this is awesome. Hopefully it can grow into more and we can do more cool things with the fans.” We’re doing a lot of giveaways – even going back to the first race that we partnered together for, back in 2016 in Miami.
So progressing forward, to have Grunt Style as my primary sponsor for 33 XFINITY races, it’s going to be cool. I’m going to be recognized on the track as the Grunt Style driver, and have that same paint scheme that everybody recognizes and talked about; everybody loves the camo car. It’ll also be cool in taking veterans to the track and letting them experience NASCAR. A lot of them know NASCAR and have been before, so It’s cool to give them behind the scenes tour and get to hang out. Really excited to have a sponsor that’s recognized all over the country.
PS: When you were searching for that right opportunity, did you ever get to a point to where you didn’t think it’d come together?
SB: Racing is definitely an addiction. You never really want to give up. There’s plenty of times that issues come up, or there’s not enough money to run a particular race, or run at the level you want to. There’s also it never seems to be moving along quick enough and you question your age watching some of these young kids get good opportunities. A lot of people have kept me excited and upbeat. I never wanted to give up, but there were a couple times that I’d be like, “I really need something to happen” with money, or just looking for a better opportunity and ready to move up a series. You do all you can on the track.
My biggest thing is to treat every race like it’s your last. You never know… Racing late models, it was always, “We’re racing this week but if we wreck the car, we won’t be back next week.” So that was always in the back of my mind each week. I had a lot of luck in late model. I won a couple races, and really didn’t tear anything up, which allowed me to keep coming to the race track to build my name and my brand, and become recognized in late models so I could move up to trucks.
The biggest thing is to just surround yourself a lot of motivated and optimistic people. I’m very realistic, so a lot of times I can get in my mood where I want to win, be fast, run every weekend – but you have to be realistic and know this is what you can afford to do and your situation. So definitely kept pushing through and it seemed every time that we got down, worked hard and another opportunity came up. I was just really fortunate.
PS: Now you have some experience with the team already. How much is that going to be a benefit for you?
SB: So really lucky to have a what you would call a trial period. Definitely this year I’ve ran a few races with Jason Miller, my crew chief, and Bobby Dotter at SS Green Light just to kind of break the ice and hang out at the race track. I’ve been to the track quite a few times even when I wasn’t driving. Bobby helped me out as far as letting me come hang out and experience these different tracks, and see them, as far as the line and how the race plays out. You don’t really know until you get to go experience that. So it’s been great.
As far as running my races, Jason and I have gotten to hang out and talk and really work on our communication as far as what I am looking for in the car, and what I don’t know. When it comes to racing at this level, there’s so many different little things that you need to know. These cars are really aero dependent, and there’s really no place to go run a mile and a half race track until you do it. We’ve ran a few of those – it’s been good, and we’re just building our package for next year. So grateful to have the opportunity to run for him this year, and I think it’s only going to make us better for next.
PS: What are your goals for the season?
SB: One of the biggest things is in my whole career is I set realistic expectations and go out and crush those goals. I want to go out there and finish races, learn the race tracks, and be there at the end. You’re not going to get to learn and do your best by not finishing races, so that’s going to be our goal – to go out there and run all the laps, and make sure each week to build on it. Hopefully when we go to places for a second time, our starting and finishing positions will improve throughout the year.
PS: What track are you most excited to get to?
SB: I think the most exciting track will be…..I love superspeedways – just ran Talladega in the trucks, and finished 13th so really excited to get 2018 started down in Daytona. It’s a superspeedway, it’s really fast, it’s so much fun, and there’s so much history at Daytona. It’s just great to kick off the year, hang out with the guys, and know we are going to be together for the whole season. It’s a great place to kick it off and I’m excited for February.
PS: To drivers out there in similar situations like yourself, what advice would give you them?
SB: The biggest piece of advice is you have to talk to anybody that will listen – whether a team owner and you’re trying to get an opportunity, or someone else. You just want to talk to someone that will listen. As far as finding a ride and then sponsors, you want to talk to as many different companies and businesses as you can to try and find the right fit for you. It’s tough. You hear so many people say no, but just try and work through your network and find people that want to sponsor you.
But there’s so much more to it than just a logo on the car. A lot of people don’t know that or think about it; they just want the money to go racing, and really, it’s about building a relationship with a company or brand to where it’s mutually beneficial for everybody. So I would say the biggest thing is to talk to anybody that will listen. There’s nothing wrong with that.
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